Following Rose Tyler’s departure from the TARDIS, The Tenth Doctor was left in need of a new companion to join him on his travels through time and space. Billie Piper left some big shoes to fill, but it would not be long before feisty medical student Martha Jones turned up on the scene, played by birthday girl Freema Agyeman who turns 37 today.
However, the first episode of the 2007 series (Smith and Jones) was actually not Agyeman’s first foray into the world of Doctor Who, as she had auditioned for three other roles prior to her debut as Martha. She first auditioned to play Sally Jacobs in The Christmas Invasion, then Esme in Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel, and finally Adeola in Army of Ghosts – though she was unsuccessful in her first two attempts, Agyeman did get the part in the Series 2 finale. Adeola became a casualty of the Battle of Canary Wharf, but producers were so impressed by Agyeman’s previous auditions that they took her on as a serious contender for Billie Piper’s successor – and when she landed the part, it would later be revealed that Adeola was Martha’s cousin to explain Agyeman’s reappearance. Now in a recurring role, Agyeman stayed with the show throughout every episode of Series 3, before later returning as a member of U.N.I.T. in five episodes of Series 4 and in three episodes of Torchwood Series 2. Her final Doctor Who appearance was a cameo in David Tennant’s final story, The End of Time Part Two, in which her character saw The Doctor one last time before being comforted by her husband, Mickey Smith.
During her time aboard the TARDIS, Agyeman joined David Tennant’s Doctor in a number of wild and exciting adventures. It all began with Judoon on the moon, but she would later meet William Shakespeare, battle the Daleks in Manhattan, help to hide The Doctor from the Family of Blood in 1913, fall prey to the Weeping Angels, travel to the very end of the universe, and walk the Earth for a year to save the world from The Master… without a doubt, she was a doctor (or should that be Doctor?) in training if ever there was one!
Although her story was somewhat overshadowed by The Doctor still mourning Rose’s departure, Martha remains a fan favourite for many. She fell in love with the rebel Time Lord but she was strong enough to know when to walk away, and she more than proved herself worthy of being his companion in their terrific time together.
Join us in wishing Freema Agyeman all the best for her special day – three cheers to one of the bravest and smartest companions of them all! Hip, hip, hooray!